Poultry farming has become one of the biggest components of Nigeria’s agriculture with abundant social and economic potentials, which contributes 25 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Poultry farming, which consists the rearing of turkeys, chickens, quails, ducks, pigeons, peacocks, guinea fowls, cows, goats, snails, and sheep now worth over N800 billion in Nigeria, although the sector is being projected to reach one trillion naira before the end of 2016.
Poultry farming brings in lots of income, boosts the country’s economy, creates business opportunities for entrepreneurs, provides employment for job seekers and it is the kind of business that gives consistent returns.
For local farmers to tap from the N800 billion poultry farming fund, stakeholders have advised the Federal Government to halt smuggling of frozen poultry, which they say is undermining local production and could lead to the collapse of the local poultry sector if caution is not taken.
Already, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned that consumption of imported frozen poultry products may lead to cancer, kidney diseases and hypertension. Unfortunately, the warning has not deterred many Nigerians from consuming them.
Just last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, told the Senate Committee on Agriculture at a one-day public hearing in the National Assembly on bills bordering on food security by the committee that the health of many Nigerians is threatened by the daily consumption of items such as pure water and smuggled frozen chicken, which, he said, contained poison detrimental to their health. He said the consumption of poison from some food items everyday arises from wrong habit of processing and preserving such items.
Apart from the health implications of the products, Nigeria is losing about $2.9 billion annually in revenue to smuggling of poultry products, as smuggling of frozen chicken into Nigeria was described as a major challenge facing the sector.
In Nigeria, up to 100,000 tonnes of imported poultry products are seized annually at the various borders and destroyed. This has severely undercut the profit potentials of this lucrative market for local producers as they struggle to compete with very cheap foreign imports.
It was learnt from stakeholders that if government can stamp out smuggling, fish out the corrupt officers and agencies at the various borders across the country, the sector would create more employment opportunity and government would also earn more revenue, as they described the sector as viable and profitable.
“Poultry farming is so profitable. A good poultry farmer earns above N15 million per annum depending on how big the farm is and how properly managed it is. A lot of benefits are open to potential farmers wishing to start their own poultry farms today.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, has lamented that poultry farmers have been producing below their capacity due to lack of funds and other modern farming equipment. He stated that over 60 per cent of the farms had closed down due to the challenges facing the farmers.
He added: “As poultry farmers, we contribute 25 per cent of agric GDP for this country while poultry remains probably the single largest sub-sector in agriculture.”